A mid-range Boerum Hill grocery store’s planned August closure spells the end of affordable shopping in the neighborhood, according to residents who are demanding the building’s new owners allow the shop to stay.
A group of developers bought the Met Foods on Smith Street between Baltic and Warren streets for $18.5 million in May, according to reports, and an employee stated the shuttering advertised on signs outside is scheduled to happen by the end of August. Whatever the investors have planned for the site won’t provide the same community service as the chain store, which is among the last workaday supermarkets in the area, according to a neighbor who penned a petition calling to stop the closure.
“Every time something closes in the neighborhood people say ‘Oh, gentrification,’ but I’m sick of hearing that — as if the community can’t do anything about it,” said Annie Schoening. “I want to send a message to developers and to the community that this isn’t outside the realm of our control.”
The store’s departure will leave the high-end Union Market on Court Street and Whole Foods Market in Gowanus, as well as the store-brand-only Trader Joe’s on Atlantic Avenue, as the area’s big grocers, with a C-Town on Bond Street being the only comparably priced food store within five blocks of the closing Met Foods. Another Met Foods and a Key Food sit seven and nine blocks away, respectively.
One longtime shopper said the closing will be a big hassle for everyone living nearby.
“This could really be devastating,” said Louis Garcia, who said has frequented the store for a decade and was carrying out a load of groceries on Monday.
Garcia said that the big chains are threatening the stores depended on by lower-earning residents of the neighborhood where the median household income is $71,999, according to census data.
“Stores like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods are taking away business, but they’re not economically viable for a lot of people,” he said
Met Foods and the group of developers did not respond to requests for comment.
Thirty-eight people had signed the petition to save the store as of Wednesday morning.